Accounts Payable

How to Say Goodbye to Email Approvals

Is your organisation still using emails as approvals for your payments? It’s time to make way for custom approval flows. Read on to find out more.


Email approvals for payments are a classic example of how companies experience slow progress because of their over-reliance on outdated processes. It is essential for any company to know that as teams grow, so do their priorities and expenditures. Therefore, the use of numerous email threads for payment approvals just isn’t cutting it anymore. 

As a result, accounting and finance teams become unmotivated when they find it difficult to move forward with their tasks, simply because they are stuck waiting for an email that gets forgotten in the loop. Companies also risk losing opportunities to grow and incurring penalties due to such long decision cycles. 

In this article, we will cover how your organisation can move away from email approvals for payments to streamline the approval process– removing redundancies and bringing focus to your business. 

 

The Woes of Email Approvals 

We’ve probably all been there: you’re an employee or team member trying to get a payment sent out to a supplier, and the approval process is just so tedious that it’s keeping you from doing so timely. Not to mention, the supplier needs to be paid as soon as possible, so they can deliver the product or service they’ve promised at the end of the deal. 

Besides the time and effort it takes to chase down those approvals, there are tons of other reasons why email approvals should be taken out of the equation. 

 

Lack of audit trail 

An audit trail, especially in payments, is important for the purpose of validation and recording transactions that happen during the business’s day-to-day operations. Having a proper audit trail requires keeping track of various users and the actions they take. 

Needless to say, emails aren’t exactly the best way to provide the audit trail. Employees can receive up to 121 emails a day for work, and it can be for multiple purposes in one sitting. Thus, it can be difficult to retrieve information required from a particular email– and having to scroll through countless email threads just to find it. 

Moreover, most email providers like Gmail have limited storage space. What if you run out of space in your inbox? Are you simply going to clear your emails knowing that some of them are important? Where and how are you going to store these documents moving forward?

Human errors

Given its manual nature, email approvals have a higher tendency of human errors. These could include typos or even the attachment of wrong documents. 

Human errors like these often go unnoticed as well, as they could be very minute and hard to spot. But once it gets flagged, it needs to be corrected and you’re eventually stuck waiting for another round of email approvals. 

Security issues

Did you know that there are over 3.4 billion fake emails sent every day such as phishing emails? Despite the presence of basic email security measures such as encryption, email accounts are still susceptible to cyberattacks where the user’s data gets hacked or compromised. 

If you’re dealing with something as sensitive as money, it is not ideal to let cybercriminals get access to such emails, especially those with attachments that contain important payment information. 

Roles and responsibilities

In small teams, it can be easy to identify which approval stage the payment is at and who to look for if the approval process is not moving ahead. But for growing teams, it’s almost impossible to keep track of everything that is happening in real-time. 

Large payments may also require up to multiple layers of approval, where it involves a manager, a finance administrator, or a department head, etc. Plus, you have to factor in the possibility of team members who go on leave– does the email approval process stop there? Who steps in to approve the payment? 

Endless back and forth communication

As you can probably tell, all the woes of email approvals boil down to endless back and forth emails that employees send on a daily basis. Soon enough, you’ll be seeing cc’s and bcc’s all around, and still having no idea when the payment will finally be approved. 

 

How to Say Goodbye to Email Approvals 

Ultimately, approvals are still essential to ensure that errors are avoided and that it goes through the fact-checking process. However, it doesn’t always have to be that manual. Instead, you could use an end-to-end payables software like Spenmo to streamline the entire process using custom approval flows. 

Depending on the size and structure of your organisation, it is expected that different types of payments would require different reviewers at different stages of the approval process. With custom approval flows, you can tailor your approval process to your desired conditions, such as the payment source, amount, and expense category. 

Setting up custom approval flows also allows you to thoroughly review every transaction before they’re paid out. Overall, this enhances the control and visibility over all payments, so everyone in the company can take comfort in knowing the company’s funds are being properly utilised. 

Make Spenmo the source for connecting all your business payables in one single dashboard, and never have to utilise emails for payment approvals ever again. Book a demo today to find out more!

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